Costa Del Sol holidays

First published in Holiday Information

Somerset County Gazette: advertising feature

Air Traffic Control is Child's Play

When we board a plane for our Turkey or Costa Del Sol holidays we have full faith in the workers that cordinate the plane from take off to landing. However a situation in America has recently gave cause to doubt this assumption. New York City's JFK airport is under investigation by the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration, following an incident where a child was heard talking to pilot's from the air traffic control tower.

The particular incident concerned took place on February 16th in what is believed to have been a school holiday. A child is heard chatting to an Air Mexico flight deck and also clearing a Jet Blue flight for take off.

The incident came to light after recordings of the conversations were posted on an internet site. A pilot admits he wishes he could bring his child to work as the child says "Jet Blue 171, cleared for takeoff" followed by his father saying "Here's what you get, guys, when the kids are out of school" the pilot then signs off with "Awesome job."

In a separate conversation, after conversing with an Air Mexico pilot in Spanish, the child signs off with "Adios Amigos."

It is thought that the child is the son of the controller who, along with the supervisor are both veteran employees and well respected members of staff. Both the controller and his supervisor have been placed on paid administrative leave.

The FAA has confirmed that all visits to radar rooms and control towers have been suspended until a full investigation has taken place.

A spokesperson for the FAA commented "This lapse in judgement not only violated FAA's own policies but common sense standards for professional conduct. These kinds of distractions are totally unacceptable." It is understood that passenger safety was never an issue and the FAA commented "We have an incredible team of professionals who safely control our nation's skies every single day. This kind of behaviour does not reflect the true calibre of our workforce."

The incident is thought to have been quite harmless by those who have heard the recording and that it is just a case of a proud dad taking his child to work. JFK is highly supervised and the child only repeated a few words. So next time you settle into your seat for takeoff, be it on a short break to Paris, long haul flight to the USA or your annual Costa del Sol holidays, spare a thought for the person guiding your flight safely into the skies, and just hope he's old enough to know his left from his right and his Golf from his Sierra. After all letting a child do it would be just 'plane' silly.

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